Making and using a layout

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Setting up a Layout


In this tutorial, setting up a layout will be explained. This includes the use of master pages, inserting new pages, layers, creating paragraph styles and inserting page numbers.

New pages

Pages Panel

The shortcut F12 will bring up the page panel. It is split in two: at the top, all master pages can be seen. On the bottom, all pages of the document can be seen.

Different ways to insert new pages

Inserting more pages into the document can be done by clicking on the New Page icon at the bottom of the panel which will insert one page at a time or via right-click in the pages area of the panel which offers more options like number of pages and location. These options can also be found via the menu in Layout>Pages.

New master pages can also be made with a right-click in the master page area.

Master pages

By default, a new document already has a master called A. All new document pages also feature the letter A in the upper right corner, indicating that the A-Master is applied to them. Hence, any changes made in the master will be visible on these document pages.

Double click on the master that you want to edit. The two master pages will be visible.

It is possible to make masters with one or more than two pages. This can be set with a right-click on the master.

Using grids

Grids Indesign

Working with grids is important can be useful in Indesign. Two types of grids are 'Document grids' and 'Baseline grids' that can be found from View » Grids and Guides. The values can be edited from Edit » Preferences » Grids

You can also add grids by dragging the cursor from the Ruler along the side of the artboard. If you can't find the ruler, go to View » Show rulers

If the document gets complicated to read with grids and graphics, by pressing W or Shift+W will display the page without grids.

Creating paragraph styles


The goal now is to make all the elements and paragraph styles needed in the layout – for example a title, subtitle and numbered list.

It is handy to separate elements that will be edited later from background elements via layers. For now, a background layer and one for text is enough.

Text boxes connected

While on the text layer, create text frames for title and body text of the layout by dragging with the text tool. Body text frames can already be connected by clicking and connecting the small squares of the text frames.

Filling text boxes with placeholder text

In order to see what the layout with text will look like, the frames can be filled with placeholder text. This is done by right-clicking when in a text frame and selecting Fill with Placeholder Text. The text still has the standard formatting.

The adjusted paragraph styles

Change the formatting of the title and body text to your wishes. In the preview mode you can check how the layout looks.

Selecting the title text

Now it is time to commit these text styles to paragraph styles. Just select the title text, and in the paragraph styles panel, click the new icon at the bottom of the panel. Paragraph style 1 is made. By double-clicking it, its properties show up and can be edited. Here you can rename it for example.

Double-clicking on Paragraph Style 1 will bring up its properties

Create paragraph styles for the body text and subtitles as well. Apply them to more pieces of text to prototype your layout by selecting the text and correct paragraph style. Now, if the paragraph style is edited, all the text it is applied to will change as well.

Re-defining a paragraph style

A paragraph style can also be changed by changing the text it is applied to. A ‘+’ will appear next to the style, meaning it has been modified. By going to the drop down menu in the paragraph styles panel, you can choose to either redefine the style, meaning the modifications will be integrated, or to clear overrides, meaning the text will be returned to the original style.

Settings for bulleted or numbered lists

Amongst other things, settings for bulleted or numbered lists can also be set in the properties of a paragraph style.

Page numbers and objects

Inserting page numbers

Now, background elements like page numbers and graphic objects can be inserted. As these will not be changed later, they will be put into the background layer.

Examples for graphic elements would be lines and rectangles created with the corresponding tools. Objects in a layer can be arranged in front of or behind each other. Right-click on an object >Arrange to change its order.

In order to insert page numbers, drag a text frame in the desired location. Right-click and choose Insert Special Character>Marker>Current Page Number. The letter of the Master page appears, in this case, ‘A’. A paragraph style can be applied to change its appearance.

In order to add any logo or text in all your document pages, you can place the graphic in the master page so that all the document pages will have the graphic.

The page number as it appears in the maser and on a page

When looking on the document pages, the A is replaced by the current page number.

Next to other special characters, it is also possible to insert variables like chapter title and modification date.

If you want to skip a page number in some pages. you can pressShift+Ctrl for selecting and then press delete.

Locking the background layer

Once done, the background layer can be locked so no conflicts arise later.

Object Styles

Making a rectangle for preview

When the layout is supposed to include images, it is practical to create an object style as well. Object styles for example describe how text flows around an object and how much room is left around it.

If not visible, go to Windows>Styles>Object Styles. Draw a rectangle and place it above some text to preview the style.

Making a new object style

Create a new style, rename it and adjust its settings.

Previewing the object style

For example, in Text wrap & Other how the text flows around an image and how much room is left around it can be set.

For previewing its effect, it has to be applied to the rectangle and preview has to be checked. Now, this style can be applied to any image inserted into the layout.

Using the Layout

Preparing the Layout

Arranging title and body pages on different masters

Like mentioned before, several other master pages can be created.

When having a simple layout with title pages and pages with only text, it is for example handy to have the title pages on one master, and the text layout pages on another master.

Remove the fill text before applying the master to the pages. Make sure that the paragraph style in the empty text frame is correct: the title style in the title frame, the body style in the main text frame. This ensures that text pasted or written in the frame will immediately have the correct style, which is time-saving.

Applying a master to several pages

A master can be applied to document pages by dragging the master page onto a document page or by selecting pages, right-click>Apply Master to Pages.

Filling in text

Freeing the text frame from the Master to make it editable

Now, the layout made on the master page is transferred to the document pages. However, elements are not yet clickable. In order to edit them, elements have to be “freed” from the master. This is done via Ctrl+Shift+Click on an element.

Inserting and formatting text

The text frame can now be filled by writing or pasting text from another application like Word. Because the text frames in the master have the correct style, text pasted in the main text frames will already be in the body style. Subtitles, numbered lists etc can now be easily formatted using the paragraph style.

Inserting Images

Options for linking files

When a lot of images have to be inserted, it can be handy to put them in an extra layer as well.

Images can be inserted via File » Place or just by dragging them into the document. By default, images are linked back to their original position and not inserted into the document which would become too big. Hence, work from one folder that includes your Indesign file and a subfolder for all the images you are using. The advantage of links is that when the image is replaced, the image in the document is replaced as well.

Images can also be re-linked to different files from the links panel.

Inserting Images into shapes

Image into a shape

Images can be inserted into different shapes also. For example, inserting an image into a circular shape, make a circle using the Elipsetool by pressing shift. Once you draw the shape, select the shape and go to File » Place and place the image. You can also drag the image into the shape. The image can be refitted using the options under Object » Fitting. Multiple images can be added to various shapes by selecting all the files before placing them.

By resizing the edge of the shape (circle), the shape gets refitted cropping the image as shown in the image. By resizing the edge of the image, as shown in step 2 will help to refit the image within the shape(circle).

Make sure to press Shift while refitting to prevent transforming of the image or shape.

Scaling and cropping images

Resizing the frame and content with Control+Shift

In Indesign images consist of the image itself inside a frame. The frame is like a mask for the image it holds. When adjusting its size, the image gets cropped accordingly. In order to proportionally resize image and frame at the same time, hold down control+shift while dragging a corner. Other options for frame and content are visible in the content panel when an image frame is selected.

Moving the image inside the frame with the Direct Selection Tool

The image inside the frame can be moved and resized as well, with the Direct Selection Tool, the white arrow (A).

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